Change is rarely easy, and change for the sake of change will usually be short-lived. But with the proper planning and a strategic vision, firms can make changes that will last. It’s hard to know what to expect when you begin down the path towards transformation. So here are a few workflow tips from real firms that have successfully implemented changes through technology.
Find a champion for change
When you’re trying to achieve change, you need to enlist all the help you can get. You can’t do it alone, so find the other champions in your firm and work together.
“I identified either people who were more tech savvy or who had more experience and could provide more input into the process so we could get their ideas for some of the big changes we were making.”
— Sheila Jackson, Tax Services Manager, Casey Peterson, LTD
Change doesn’t mean chaos. In fact, change often comes in the form of standardization and consistency.
“We didn’t really have a workflow solution previously and, as we’ve grown, we found that standardization is crucial. Also, having information in one place, accessible to everyone, and available in real time is just something that we absolutely needed to do.”
— Alyce R. Notaro, Senior Manager of Tax, Tronconi Segarra & Associates, LLP
Providing more visibility into the results of the changes, will help everyone better understand the benefits. When people can see the benefits of change, they can more easily cope with short-term inconveniences.
“As a manager, I can see analytically all the different changes that are happening and gain a really good understanding in a quick manner of what the client has going on.”
— Jeremy Allen, Tax Manager, Randy Jentzsch & Co.
Document your value
Whether your firm evolves or not, your client expectations are rapidly changing. If you want to stay in business, you’ll need to find better ways to justify your cost to your clients.
“We do value billing, but periodically, we get a client who says ‘I’m paying you all of this money, what are you doing?’ We’re not great at tooting our own horn and that’s the point of value billing — we’re doing things for our clients all of the time. As we’re growing and changing our processes, Practice will give us better documentation to show our clients.”
— Julie Lepper, Principal, Lepper & Company, LLC
Make hand-offs easier
In any workflow, it’s the transition from one step to the next that creates the biggest risk for losing efficiency. Smoothing these transitions is the first step towards automation and will make your firm more efficient.
“We really love the Workstream worksteps. When an admin scans a document, they mark their workstep complete, and then the preparer gets a notification to let them know their piece is ready to work on — and so forth. At any given time, each person has a work log and can check it to see what status everything is in.”
— Christina Stewart, Senior Manager, Fuller, Witcher & Company, P.A.